President Peter Mutharika will not go ahead to launch the national identity cards (IDs) project on Wednesday as it was earlier announced, both the State House and National Registration Bureau have confirmed the postponement of the function.
The national IDs will address the challenges Malawians have long faced due to the absence of the documents.
Malawi is the only country in southern Africa without such IDs for its citizens.
The President, who returned home Sunday after a weeks-long visit to the United States that sparked rumours over his health, was expected launch the project at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
But the public expressed doubts that Mutharika was not in “robust health” as it were earlier claimed that he would launch the project.
However, State House spokesman and presidential press officer Mgeme Kalilani told Nyasa Times on Tuesday the State House has been informed by the Registration Bureau of the postponement on Monday evening.
According to Kalilani the President was all set for the launch.
Registration Bureau spokesman Norman Fulatula said the cancellation of the launch has nothing to do with the President.
He said there were some shortfalls that they want to address before thelaunch of IDs project.
The cancellation will spark more rumours of the president’s ill health which continued with his return when used his left hand to wave to a crowd of supporters and to shake hands with officials.
More speculation among Malawians continued with other spreading information that Mutharika has beenflown out of the country for treatment.
But government says “sickening rumours” are appalling.
The ID’s project is a milestone of the Mutharika government as Malawians currently use driving licenses, passports, and in some cases voter registration certificates as proof of their citizenship in places and institutions where identification is needed.
Those who don’t have such documents are asked to bring any person with a passport or driving license to be a witness.
Malawians who cannot fulfill such requiremenrts cannot get assistance in places like commercial banks and money lending institutions.
Health authorities say the absence of national IDs is putting strain on medical resources because foreigners come to take advantage of free medical services in public hospitals, particularly in border districts.
Campaigners against child trafficking also say lack of identification is contributing to an increase in trafficking cases.
Malawi’s government introduced the National Registration Bureau in 2007 to oversee the process of issuing national identity documents.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :